The Nightingale of India, singer Lata Mangeshkar, (above) who turns 87 today, will be bestowed with Banga Bhusan, Bengal’s highest award by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 20th October. “Birthdays make me feel that I should live as almighty wants me to. My achievements are well known. I never believe in beating my own drums,” she says.
On the new feather added to her cap, she says, “I’m honoured. The rich cultural and musical heritage of Bengal has a special corner in my heart. Satinath Mukhopadhyay, Salil Chowdhury and Hemanta Mukherjee tuned some unforgettable songs that I was lucky to sing.” Here’s an analysis of some of her songs.
Sajana Barkha Bahar
This Salil Chowdhury composition for Parakh had Lata Mangeshkar at her altruistic best. A Hindi version of the Bengali number, Na Jeo Na, it was equally popular. Never has romance, wet by rains, sounded so melodious. The light sitar counter-melody in the song was initially criticised by Ravi Shanker. However, he later lamented on his criticism as the song touched his heart. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan blessed Salil Chowdhury and Lata Mangeshkar after hearing the song.
Aa Aa Bhi Ja
Lata’s musical journey is incomplete without a mention of Shankar Jaikishan. Though the composer duo stopped working with Lata Mangeshkar for a short period due to certain differences, they soon realised that without Lata, their musical horizon is undone. In the haunting Aa Aa Bhi Ja from Teesri Kasam, (1966) they moulded folk melody with beats of tabla and drums.
Duniya Banane Wale
When composer Madan Mohan, or Mangeshkar’s Madan Bhaiya, asked Lata to lend her voice to Duniya Banane Wale in Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), she raised her vocal octaves that even brought tears in the eyes of lyricist Kaifi Azmi.